How to Save Money on Mailing, With or Without USPS® Promotions
The start of the new year often means a change in pricing by the U.S. Postal Service, and 2018 is no exception. New rates for USPS® mailing and shipping services will take effect on January 21, 2018, meaning mailers will need to adjust to the new pricing reality very shortly.
Historically, one of the ways mailers could mitigate the impact of annual pricing changes was by taking advantage of various USPS promotions. The 2017 USPS promotional calendar listed six unique campaigns, which provided opportunities for businesses to test new technologies and print techniques with their mail and receive postage discounts in return.
While these promotions offered a great reward for mailers who experiment with high-value mail technology and strategies, it’s not clear if those same benefits will exist in 2018.
Annual promotions are subject to approval by the USPS Board of Governors, and at the moment, vacancies on that board still need to be filled by Congressional approval. In the meantime, mailers aren’t clear if the same promotions they enjoyed in past years, or new ones, will be in effect next year.
Fortunately, there is a solution for mailers to navigate this uncertainty and still achieve the best price possible. It’s called commingling.
Commingling mail is a proven strategy for mailers who want to tap into the best USPS discounts, optimize mail delivery for lower costs and achieve better ROI through improved visibility and logistics – with or without the added benefit of promotional programs.
Tap into USPS Discounts
The fundamental purpose of commingling is to simplify the job of mail delivery for the USPS by sorting your mail first before handing it off to the Postal Service. The finer the ZIP sort, the bigger the discount. Mailers who group (or “commingle”) their mail to the full five-digit ZIP code enjoy bigger savings than those who only group it by three digits, for example.
Volume is an important factor. The larger your commingling group, the better chance you’ll have at finding enough pieces of mail that share the same five-digit ZIP code to meet the minimum threshold of 150 commingled mailpieces. That’s why it’s helpful to have a third-party presort partner to handle your mail, because these providers serve many other clients and therefore can reach the volume needed to qualify for discounts.
Optimize Mail Delivery for Lower Costs
Another benefit to working with a third-party presort partner: simplified operations and logistics. You won’t have to maintain the equipment, supplies, labor and floor space needed to run a commingle operation on your own. Instead, your partner can handle everything from mail pick-up at your facility, to quality checks to ensure your mail meets the right dimensional requirements, to accurate sorting and optimized mailstream induction.
Achieve Better ROI from Mail
Commingling your mail can also help you drive new value by implementing tracking and visibility into your direct mail marketing processes. Presort service providers use the Intelligent Mail barcode to monitor every important metric behind your mail campaign, helping you double check delivery times, ensure compliance through verifiable audit trails and coordinate multichannel campaigns that leverage the best of physical and digital channels to drive better results from your marketing.
There is still a possibility that mailers will be able to take advantage of USPS promotions in 2018, but mailers will have to wait to find out if and when these discounts will be available. Regardless, commingling is a consistent, proven strategy to help you keep postage costs under control.
Read the Pitney Bowes blog to learn the full details on the 2018 USPS mailing and shipping rate changes. You can also learn more about how presort services spark new efficiencies, savings, productivity and innovation in our whitepaper “Rethink how you mail”.